Each year, the Red Stag Supperclub and The Growler Magazine bring together Minnesota breweries for some collaborative beer brewing and friendly competition. On August 6, 2017, In Cahoots! A Collaboration of Craft Brewing returns with 14 breweries teaming up in pairs (and partnering with nonprofits) alongside live music, tasty food, local wares, and more, at The Red Stag’s 11th annual block party in Northeast Minneapolis.
This year, the brewers seemed to step away from overly crazy beers in favor of drinkability with a unique twist. That means there are plenty of lagers on hand, in addition to some crazier concoctions like the Lemongrab IPA.
“Sometimes it takes a project like this to get you to step away from the daily grind,” said Jim Watkins, head cidermaker and co-owner of Sociable Cider Werks. “It’s nice to be able to do that, especially with friends and neighbors you’ve got a lot of respect for.”
Brewers from each team explain why they chose their nonprofit partner, and how they decided on this year’s collaboration beer.
The Northeast Minneapolis neighbors chose to support the Southern Anoka Community Assistance (SACA) Food Shelf and Thrift Store. SACA has been serving the communities of Columbia Heights, Hilltop, Fridley and Spring Lake Park for 39 years. Each month the SACA food shelf serves 500 to 625-plus in-crisis families and giving out 39,500 to 45,000-plus pounds of food. The nonprofit also work closely with schools, police, and fire departments to bring food and hygiene products to in-need students.
“Sociable got to know the team at SACA a few years ago at their Hops For Hunger fundraiser in the Solar Arts Building,” Watkins said. “Interestingly, it was our first-ever beer festival as a company, and from there the relationship grew. The work that SACA is doing to fight hunger in our backyard is inspiring. We’ve actually partnered with them on the three Sociable Summer concerts we host in our parking lot every year, and so when we were asked who our partner for In Cahoots! should be, they were the obvious choice.”
The Collaboration: Cobra Kai Lime Apple Pils
— Sociable Cider Werks (@SociableCider) June 30, 2017
Watkins said he and Bauhaus head brewer Matt Schwandt dug into the defining characteristics of their respective breweries for this take on a Pilsner.
“It turns out that Bauhaus lagers and Sociable apples complemented each other pretty nicely,” Watkins said. “We think we’ve created summer in a pint glass. There’s a lot going on, from crisp Pilsner flavors, tart apple, and to tie it all together, the zesty flavor of hand-pressed key limes.”
August Schell Brewing Company & Indeed Brewing Company brewing for: Emma’s Hope Foundation–Beat Nb Minnesota
Emma’s Hope and Beat Nb Minnesota are dedicated to curing neuroblastoma, a form of cancer that affects children. Indeed lead brewer Dan Stavig learned about Emma’s Hope, through brewing industry contacts.
“I had heard of the group through Josh (Bischoff), our head brewer, and we also know Chris German well—he works for BSG, and the nonprofit is named for his daughter,” Stavig said. “Even more important than knowing the people behind it, the goal of the foundation is to fight childhood cancer. It was a no-brainer to support that work.”
The Collaboration: Minnesotan Country Lager
— Indeed Brewing Co. (@indeedbrewing) June 28, 2017
In addition to having some ties with the nonprofit, Stavig has some with Schell’s.
“I was a brewer at Schell’s for two years before I came to Indeed, and unsurprisingly, the time spent at Schell’s instilled in me a love for German lagers and brewing methods,” Stavig said. “When the opportunity came up to collaborate on an In Cahoots! beer, I contacted Jace [Marti] and said we should make a lager. He agreed. From there we decided to make a country lager, loosely based on the landbier of Bavaria. It’s basically beer brewed to suit the tastes of the people who surround a particular brewery. We imagined what New Ulm and Northeast Minneapolis landbiers would be like, then combined them into a hybrid of sorts.”
That hybrid incorporates Grain Belt yeast and New Ulm-grown malt, in addition to hops Indeed would typically use and Minneapolis city water.
“Our goal is to make it smell like Indeed and taste like Schell’s, and I think people will like, or at least appreciate, the juxtaposition,” said Stavig.
Modist Brewing Company & Dangerous Man Brewing Company brewing for: Alzheimer’s Association of Minnesota–North Dakota
Modist head brewer Keigan Knee said it was personal for the brewery to choose the Alzheimer’s Association of Minnesota–North Dakota as its nonprofit to support.
“We picked the Alzheimer’s Association of Minnesota–North Dakota as our nonprofit because the father of one of Modist’s owners recently passed away from this terrible disease after suffering from it for a number of years,” Knee explained. “We saw this as an opportunity to contribute to the important research so that a cure or treatment can be found for this horrible disease.”
The Collaboration: Lemongrab IPA
The beer leading that charge is Lemongrab, a pink lemonade IPA made with barley, wheat, oats, lemons, raspberries—and to add even more lemon to the flavor profile— Lemondrop hops.
“We wanted to focus on a recipe that recalls good ole summertime memories, and one that is refreshing, full of flavor, and low ABV,” said Knee. Explaining more about the flavor, Knee said people can expect “a soft oat and wheat malt body,” and a “very aromatic and refreshing tart finish.”
Since 1982, The Land Stewardship Project‘s goal has been fostering an ethic of stewardship for farmland, promoting sustainable agriculture, and developing healthy communities.
“We have a volume of respect for the work the Land Stewardship Project does via their networking and advocating to support sustainable farming practices and beginning farmers,” Bang Brewing’s Sandy Boss Febbo explained about their nonprofit partner. “They do such a great job raising awareness, facilitating, and connect individual consumers and businesses with local sustainable farms.”
The Collaboration: Dent
Wort production is in the bag! (Split the batch between our cellar & FSBC NE – had to break out a longer hose to knock out from our deck.🍻) pic.twitter.com/k3OQXQx2wl
— Bang Brewing (@bangbrewing) June 27, 2017
The two breweries decided to collaborate on a light and flavorful organic lager using an old-school cereal mash technique. The beer batch was then split, with half placed in Bang’s cellar, and half in Fair State’s.
“We’ve kicked around the idea of a collaboration for a few years and the timing nicely aligned this year,” said Febbo. “Niko (Tonks) stopped by a number of times during the build out of their new production facility down the street, and so we were familiar with the design and capabilities of his new brewhouse. When he came over to discuss what to brew we determined to make good use of his jacketed mash tun—none of us had done a cereal mash before so it was fun to give it a go.”
Able Seedhouse + Brewery & Bent Paddle Brewing Company brewing for: Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness
When Bent Paddle and Able Seedhouse got together to discuss In Cahoots! and their nonprofit partner, the two breweries looked to a shared interest. “One common thread is we like the outdoors, we like to fish,” said Bent Paddle head brewer Charlie Brodell said. “[…] Friends of the Boundary Waters was a no-brainer.”
Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness was started in 1976 to “protect, preserve and restore the wilderness character of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the Quetico-Superior Ecosystem.”
The Collaboration: Norden Portage German IPA
— Able Beer (@AbleBeer) July 12, 2017
“We agreed with the whole In Cahoots! thing, it’s been a lot of crazy stuff throughout the years,” Brodell said, adding that Bent Paddle likes to “bend traditions,” and wanted to make something people could have a few pints of. And thus, the German IPA, brewed using German malts, new-school German hops, and American lemongrass, was born.
“We’re basically trying to model it after an American style,” Brodell said, “but using German ingredients. We all just kind of latched onto that idea, and tossed in the idea of some lemongrass, kind of an American twist on it.”
Surly head brewer Jerrod Johnson said Surly and Steel Toe chose AchieveMpls, a strategic nonprofit partner of Minneapolis Public Schools, because education is important.
“We wanted to support a local nonprofit with a positive effect: [Making] every student career- and college-ready. I feel like supporting them is helping young people find their dreams and supporting the Minneapolis community,” Johnson said.
The Collaboration: Sticky Bubbler
Photos by Kevin Kramer
When you think of Surly and Steel Toe, you probably think hops. Johnson said that the two breweries knew from the start that they would make a hop-forward beer. So, using Weyermann Barke Pilsner malt, and dank, resinous hops, Sticky Bubbler was crafted.
“We ended up with a beer to experiment with this malt, and it’s Steel Toe’s first lager, so it’s fun,” said Johnson. “You know, I think people like both of our brewery’s hoppy beers, and this is just a nice, sticky, dank, resinous hop profile, with a clean malt bill and small amount of Vienna malts. We think it will be great to drink at that outdoor festival.”
Fulton took charge of choosing the nonprofit, deciding on Clare Housing, an organization that aims to provide access to housing and health care to those with HIV and AIDS. Originally founded in 1987, over the last two decades Clare Housing has grown from one residence serving four people to developing, owning, and managing seven residential programs accommodating more than 150 people.
With the nonprofit chosen, Fulton’s Mikey Salo and Bad Weather’s head brewer Andy Ruhland went to work on the collaboration.
The Collaboration: Amber Luxe
— Fulton Beer (@fultonbeer) July 13, 2017
“Both Mikey Salo and myself enjoy a good cocktail,” Ruhland said. “Mikey has done a lot of work with fresh citrus zest and botanicals. A cocktail-inspired beer seemed only fitting. We threw some ideas at each other. Manhattan beer? Old fashioned beer? We wanted something more unique. Perhaps something people haven’t heard of. We landed on what we are calling Amber Luxe, an amber-hued ale infused with botanicals and citrus. It’s inspired from the drink, The Double Luxe, of Marvel Bar.
“It’ll definitely be a one-time only beer that people will want to try,” Ruhland continued, explaining that the beer will have “some fun flavors and aromas of fresh lemon zest, ginger, juniper, cardamom, and other spices with just a touch of tartness. And for those that have had the cocktail, it’ll be fun being able to relate to those unique flavors and aromas.”